On the News @ The Globe and Mail
Five questions with Donald Henderson, curator at Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology
“This month, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, near Drumheller, Alta., unveiled a new exhibit of fossils found at industrial sites.
The centrepiece is the nodosaur, a 110-million-year- old fossil unearthed from a Suncor mine in the oil sands. Donald Henderson, the museum’s curator of dinosaurs, calls it the ‘best-preserved armoured dinosaur in the world.’
When did you first know something special had been unearthed?
We knew at about the middle of April, 2011. Suncor’s geology people had sent us some photos and everybody here looked at them and we thought, yeah, it is probably a plesiosaur or ichthyosaur, because we’d had them from the Syncrude mine occasionally over the previous 20 years.
So Suncor flew myself and technician Darren Tanke up about two days later. And once we were on site, we looked at the pieces and they certainly weren’t working as a plesiosaur. And Tanke said, “What if it is a dinosaur?” And then it all made sense. It was such a surprise.
Where do you start? First off, it is three-dimensional. Most dinosaur fossils of any size are two-dimensional. But here we had an animal that was only very lightly squished. It is basically 3-D. We’re famous for our dinosaurs in the southern half of the province but they are all from about 75 to 66 million [years ago]. This thing is 110, 112 million [years old]. So it is much older. It is probably the best-preserved armoured dinosaur in the world.
How did it stay so well preserved?” (…) READ MORE
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